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KEY CONCEPTS SERIES ‘Gender’ with Harriet Bradley

‘Fat Activism: a radical social movement’ with Charlotte Cooper 
Wednesday 4th May, 7pm

‘Lean Out’ with Dawn Foster
Wednesday 11th May, 7pm

‘Place is the Passion: Reframing the Israel/Palestine Conflict’ with Bill Williamson
Saturday 14th May, 7pm

‘George Orwell Now!’  presented by the Orwell Society and Richard Blair (Orwell’s son)
Wednesday 18th May, 7pm

‘Life is War: Surviving Dictatorship in Communist Albania’ with Shannon Woodcock
Tuesday 24th May, 7pm

‘How to dismantle the NHS in 10 easy steps’ with Dr Youssef El-Gingihy
Wednesday 25th May, 7pm

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We regularly have a variety of events in the shop, and are always welcome for suggestions from authors, artists and campaigners who want to use the shop for evening events. Past events include talks, book signings, film screenings, art exhibitions and musical performances.

Click here for an archive; which includes a number of selected filmed highlights, of our previous events. Also, you can view video from some special events here.

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with Harriet Bradley


The second in a series of events at Housmans called Key Concepts, aimed at introducing core concepts in the social sciences. Harriet Bradley will be exploring the increasingly complex notion of gender.

Gender issues continue to be a prominent concern of academics and policy-makers, and increasingly arise in various forms to be debated in the public sphere and popular media. But what exactly do we mean by gender? How can we best understand gender differences? How are current gender relations changing? What new paths are 'femininity' and 'masculinity' taking? What would it be like to live in a society in which differences of gender were transcended?

In this new edition of her popular and highly lauded book, Harriet Bradley provides an introduction to the concept of gender and the different theoretical approaches which have developed within gender studies. Utilizing life narratives, she investigates processes of gendering in three important spheres of contemporary social life: production, reproduction and consumption.

The book highlights the centrality of gender in everyday life and shows how thinking about gender is influenced by changing political contexts. As well as updating the discussion with the latest scholarship, political concerns and economic data, the new edition pays closer attention to intersectionality and hybrid identities, as well as exploring the complexities of contemporary relations of masculinity and femininity in the light of new feminist activities.

This lively and accessible book will be of interest to students across the social sciences, as well as anyone interested in contemporary relations between women and men.


Winner of Choice's outstanding academic title award

“Bradley provides us with a fresh and very lucid account by drawing upon her own personal experiences, examining gender through the lenses of production, reproduction and consumption.”-Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

“Bradley's clear and straightforward writing style, the inclusion of personal experiences and research findings allows the reader to reflect on the issues and ideas raised within this text without becoming entangled in complicated explanations of key concepts around gender ... Bradley's book provides both teachers and researchers with an excellent introduction to issues and debates around gender and provides an ideal base from which to begin to explore these issues further in the education field.”-Gender and Education

“Bradley's discussions are theoretically rich, yet easy to follow for those less familiar with gender studies, as key concepts are italicized, clearly defined, and thoroughly discussed. The combination of empirical research and personal narratives throughout the book superbly illustrates both how gender is conceptually understood and how it is lived and experienced in the everyday world ... a rich, intelligible sociological introduction to gender."-Canadian Journal of Sociology

“This book is an introductory text and fulfils this purpose admirably. Bradley's writing is clear, cogent and engaging.”-Political Studies Review

About the Author

Harriet Bradley is emeritus professor of sociology at the University of Bristol.

‘Fat Activism: a radical social movement’
with Charlotte Cooper
Wednesday 4th May, 7pm

Entry £3, redeemable against any purchase

Charlotte Cooper lifts the lid on a previously unexplored social movement.

Fat Activism: A Radical Social Movement is a rare insider’s view of fat people speaking about their lives and politics on their own terms.
The book is the result of Charlotte's community-based doctoral research and is part of a new wave of accessible, accountable and rigorous work emerging through Research Justice and the Para-Academy.

In her expansive grassroots study she:

About the Author

Dr Charlotte Cooper is a London-based psychotherapist, researcher and cultural worker. She is an outspoken advocate for gay rights and fat acceptance. Cooper is both an academic and mainstream author. She has written many articles on fat acceptance and gay rights issues for websites, magazines and newspapers, including Diva, the U.K.'s leading lesbian magazine and UK national newspaper The Guardian.

She is a prolific author of zines and performs in the queercore band 'Homosexual Death Drive' in 2014 she became a dancer with Project O's SWAGGA. She blogs at

For more information visit:


‘Lean Out’
with Dawn Foster

Wednesday 11th May, 7pm

Entry £3, redeemable against any purchase

Social affairs journalist Dawn Foster's new book Lean Out is a mere 81 pages long, but it packs a powerful punch. Inspired by Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg's likeable bestseller Lean In, it's much more than just a riposte to the popular business manifesto for women. Fascinating, thought-provoking and at times outrage-inducing, Lean Out elucidates the many ways in which women are being subjugated by corporations and the government, and encourages us to take direct action to address these inequalities.

Sheryl Sandberg’s business advice book, Lean In, was heralded as a defining moment in attitudes to women in business. But for all its commercial success, it proposed a model of feminism that was individualistic and unthreatening to capital.

In her powerful debut work Lean Out, acclaimed journalist Dawn Foster unpicks how the purportedly feminist message of Sandberg’s book neatly exempts patriarchy, capitalism and business from any responsibility for changing the position of women in contemporary culture. It looks at the rise of a corporate ‘1% feminism’, and at how feminism has been defanged and depoliticised at a time when women have borne the brunt of the financial crash and the gap between rich and poor is widening faster than ever.Surveying business, media, culture and politics, Foster asks whether this ‘trickledown’ feminism offers any material gain for women collectively, or acts as mere window-dressing PR for the corporations who caused the financial crash. She concludes that ‘leaning out’ of the corporate model is a more effective way of securing change than leaning in.

About the Author

Dawn Foster is a writer on politics, social affairs and economics for The Guardian, London Review of Books, Independent and Times Literary Supplement, and is a regular political commentator for Sky News, Channel 4 News, and BBC Newsnight. She won the IBP Young Journalist of the Year award in 2014, and currently lives in London.


‘Place is the Passion:

Reframing the Israel/Palestine Conflict’
with Bill Williamson

Saturday 14th May, 7pm

Entry £3, redeemable against any purchase

Bill Williamson argues that Israel relies for its survival on its lucrative arms trade and American military support. Meanwhile, the Palestinians suffer poverty and destitution as an occupied nation. Indeed, without vast international financial support the Palestinians would face starvation.Any solution is impossible while Israel pursues an aggressive program of settlement expansion and ethnic cleansing.

The author draws extensively on Jewish sources to prove Israel is on the wrong track. He looks beyond the moribund two state solution, which he likens to Apartheid, to show there is a better future achievable for both peoples: one that is secular, democratic, bi-national, culturally vibrant and economically successful.

About the Author 

Dr Williamson is Emeritus Professor of Continuing Education, Durham University, involved in his university’s Centre for Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies. A fact finding study to Israel/Palestine in 2013 led to him writing this book.


‘George Orwell Now!’
presented by the Orwell Society and Richard Blair (Orwell’s son)

Wednesday 18th May, 7pm

Entry £3, redeemable against any purchase

George Orwell remains an iconic figure today - even though he died in 1950. His dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four depicts a Big Brother society in which the state intrudes into the most intimate details of people's lives - and, not surprisingly, it became a constant reference point after Edward Snowden's revelations.

The word ‘Orwellian’ is constantly in the media - used either as a pejorative adjective to evoke totalitarian terror or as a complimentary adjective to mean ‘displaying outspoken intellectual honesty’. Interest in Orwell's life and writings - globally - continues unabated. Beginning with a Preface by Richard Blair, Orwell's son, George Orwell Now! brings together thirteen chapters by leading international scholars in four thematic sections:

About the speakers

Richard Blair is a patron of the Orwell Society and Eric Arthur Blair’s son. Eric Arthur Blair is the real name of the writer George Orwell.

The Orwell Society is dedicated to the understanding and appreciation of the life and work of George Orwell, one of the greatest writers of the twentieth century. This is the pre-eminent society devoted to Orwell. 


‘Life is War: Surviving Dictatorship in Communist Albania’

with Shannon Woodcock

Tuesday 24th May, 7pm
Entry £3, redeemable against any purchase

Dr Woodcock will discuss ethnic and racial persecution within the uniquely isolated and oppressive Albanian communist state between 1944 and 1991.

Life is War is a collection of oral histories that guides readers through the decades (1944-1992) in which everything was controlled by the Communist Party; what work one could do, what food was available, and even who one could marry.

The reader accompanies Shannon, the author and historian, through intimate interviews with six Albanian men and women. We hear how everyday people survived shocking living conditions, political persecution and oppression dependent on ethnicity, political status, gender and sexuality.

This is a thorough and vivid history of lived communism in Albania, charting political and ideological shifts through the experiences of those who survived. Life is War stands as remarkable and profound testimony to the resilience of humanity in the face of unrelenting political terror.

An accurate and precise historical work, engagingly rendered from life narratives, it plunges the reader into the difficult emotional truths that are at the core of remembering Albania’s communist past.

Life is War is a valuable contribution to studies of everyday life under communism and dictatorship. Eloquently written and expertly researched, it will appeal to readers interested in life histories, war, communism, European history and trauma studies.

About the author

Dr Shannon Woodcock  is a genocide scholar who has held the Pearl Resnick Post-Doctoral Fellowship at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and published widely in the field of the Holocaust of Romani people in Romania. She is currently a research associate in the Faculty of Creative Industries at Queensland University of Technology, Australia, where her current project examines colonial genocide in Australia.

‘How to dismantle the NHS in 10 easy steps’

with Dr Youssef El-Gingihy

Wednesday 25th May, 7pm
Entry £3, redeemable against any purchase

Tower Hamlets GP Youssef El-Gingihy  discusses the NHS and explains how it has been gradually been converted into a market-based healthcare system over the past 30 years.

The NHS is the closest thing we have to a collective heart, so naturally when we hear of it being ‘privatised’ and ‘dismantled’ this evokes a negative response. It instinctively makes sense - we have a Tory government after all and they seem to quite like privatising stuff.

However, it’s a bit confusing because we still appear to get free healthcare at the point of service. Who cares if it’s being taken over by ‘health trusts’? You can still get your hip replaced or a cancer removed … What’s all the fuss about?

Youssef El-Gingihy’s accessible short book shows us why this attack on our most cherished public service is so important - a process that has been underway since the 1980s under Margaret Thatcher. Youssef provides a wealth of quite incredible information in 71 pages, so if you ever find yourself faced with a Tory offensive, you will be ready for the fight.

And it’s not just a Tory problem; El Gingihy shows that every government over the past thirty years has contributed to the demise of the pride of the UK. And here’s how they are doing it.

El-Gingihy then sets out a number of ways in which we can fight back, and if you aren’t willing to take to the streets after reading this, then you must be part of the ruling class. With TTIP potentially on the horizon (giving companies the ability to sue governments if their decisions affect their profits), the fight only becomes more difficult as every day passes.

However, with Jeremy Hunt’s recent attack on Junior Doctors, it is becoming ever more clear to the general public that with the Tories left in charge of the NHS (or any other public service for that matter), it will become more and more of a ludicrous business opportunity for their mates, and less of a public service. Although, recent history tells us that the right of the Labour Party is complicit in all this.

Nye Bevan, the creator of the service once said, ‘The NHS will exist as long as there are folk left with the faith to fight for it.’ El-Gingihy’s book provides us with plenty of ammunition for that fight.

About the author

Dr Youssef El-Gingihy is a general practioner at Bromley by Bow Health Centre, east London. He is author of How to Dismantle the NHS in 10 Easy Steps, published by Zero books.



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